Fingerprint scan

Fingerprint payment “is simple, rapid and not invasive”

French grocery shoppers have embraced new technology that allows them to pay for their shopping by having their fingerprints scanned.

In a six-month trial, 900 shoppers in the towns of Angoulême and Villeneuve-d’Ascq near Lille were given the opportunity to pay for their shopping at supermarket chain Auchan and DIY retailer Leroy Merlin using the fingerprint technology.

The participants carried a payment card holding their fingerprint data and a mobile phone to enable the card to communicate with the payment terminal.

But when it came to paying, they did not have to take either out of their pocket or handbag. All they had to do was present their finger.

Product developers Natural Security said the results of the pilot were “very encouraging”.

Almost 5,000 transactions were carried out by the participants, which the French company said was a high adoption rate.

And when surveyed afterwards, 94% said they would be willing to use fingerprint payment for all in-store purchases.

“It is simple, rapid and not invasive,” said Natural Security marketing director André Delaforge.

A recent survey of over 2,000 UK shoppers by payment processing group WorldPay also found strong interest in biometric payments, using fingerprint, palm or iris scanners. Some 49% of people surveyed said they would like to have biometric payments. Only 30% said they wanted contactless smartphone payments.

“It’s interesting to see the public considering options such as biometric payments, a science they may have seen in sci-fi films or on TV, which suggests familiarity and visibility of new payment technologies is crucial in moving usage from tech-savvy enthusiasts to the wider public.” said WorldPay deputy chairman Ron Kalifa.